Our Villa in Doha
As the children edge ever closer towards the end of their second school year here in Doha, I  find myself thinking about just how quickly and easily we were able to adapt to living such a hugely different life when we first moved to Qatar back in 2011. I often find myself pondering our lives here and marvel at all the new things we have been able to experience by living abroad. As I look around at the hot, dusty landscape, I think about the introduction we have had to other cultures, and smile at the way in which we have learnt to do everyday tasks in such a completely different way to how we had always done them previously. At the same time, I have of course learnt the need to be more patient as not everything is always done here at quite the speed we were accustomed to back in the UK!

 When I sit waiting at red traffic lights I take a look around me, at the Qatari men in their Land Cruisers, with mobiles fixed to their ears; at the Indian drivers in their somewhat smaller cars with little children inside, sitting on laps or moving freely around the inside of the car, with not a seatbelt in sight; at the bright turquoise Karwa taxis that stand out from all the other cars and are invariably driving in the opposite direction to where their fare paying passenger actually wishes to be, and at the huge big lorries which are busy moving construction materials to one of the many building sites around Doha's quickly expanding skyline. Except for the Qatari drivers, all the rest of us have something in common, the fact that we all have another place, another land, that we call 'home' - that it is the prospect of work, at somewhat differing levels, that have united us here in Doha. 

Our house in England
Soon we will be returning to England for the Summer break and I know that after the initial frenzy at the supermarket, buying and relishing everything we have gone without for so long and seeing our much loved extended family, we will quietly slot back into our life there for 2 months. Initially, we may well enjoy the typically dull British weather, the smaller cars and the more interesting single carriageway roads. We will love seeing so much greenery again and having the feel of carpet beneath our feet as we get out of bed in the mornings. In fact, we will enjoy being in the one place that is our 'true' home. Yet, soon we will no doubt start to complain about the high cost of petrol and diesel (and probably everything else!), the fact that we have to wear jumpers or coats again and the way in which rain will frequently spoil our planned trips out. 

Before we know it the end of August will quickly arrive and we will pack our cases and head back to the land of sand, laden down with all those extra purchases that can't be made in Doha. The sun will beat down on us as we step off the plane and, in the space of a week, allowing for that initial period of adjustment, we will be 'home' again! We are so lucky to have 2 such vastly different places to call home and it will never cease to amaze me the way in which we can slot so seamlessly back into hugely different environments so quickly and easily. It would have been simple to have said 'no' to the opportunity to move here, but for once we stepped up to the mark and accepted the challenge. We are in fact the lucky ones now as we always have another place to escape to, so when the boredom of day-to-day living starts to set in at one home, we can look at the calendar and start the countdown to when we can escape to the other! 

14/5/2013 06:52:46 am

Hi Sam, have just found your blog via Twitter and simply wanted to say how lovely to read your words. Many moons ago..when you were young I and my husband lived overseas. We were in Kenya and then Zimbabwe and in those days there were no telephones and all that reached folk back home were our letters,sometimes week late. I think you are doing a wonderful thing living in a faraway place, enjoy and keep writing. It helped me hugely to send words home...we loved it even the tricky bits became part of the process! Gillx

Diary of an Expat Mum
14/5/2013 06:35:33 pm

Thank you Gill - we are definitely trying to make the most of the opportunity we have been given and, although being far away from our family can be difficult at times, we are happy with our life overseas and technology makes keeping in touch so much easier than in the past. I just wish I had more time to write as there are so many things to talk about, but it's not easy when trying to juggle the needs of 4 children and run a household at the same time! Sam x

3/6/2013 02:54:33 am

Hello Sam , it was very nice to read about ur experience in Qatar - the hottest country in the middle east - hope u are enjoying life here though life here is bored . Hope u can write something about the activities can one do in the weekend ? .

23/6/2013 08:58:20 pm


We are similar to yourselves and looking to make the move with my 4 year old doughter and 2 year old son in Aug 2013. We have a house inthe UK identical to yours shown, and I was wondering what compland you live in, as we visited recently and the accomodateion was disapointing compared to where we live now in the UK. Many did not even have a garden for our little ones! Can you help as this will impact our move...please.

23/6/2013 09:02:14 pm

Hi...Without spelling mistakes

We are similar to yourselves and looking to make the move with my 4 year old daughter and 2 year old son in Aug 2013. We have a house in the UK identical to yours shown, and I was wondering what compound you live in, as we visited recently and the accommodation was disappointing compared to where we live now in the UK. Many did not even have a garden for our little ones! Can you help as this will impact our move...please.

Diary of an Expat Mum
23/6/2013 09:22:45 pm

Hi Kevin - one of the things I always miss the most about the UK is our house and garden as it is impossible to replicate out in the Middle East. Most Compounds do only have small back yards rather than gardens but of course you do have the communal facilities to use - the swimming pool, clubhouse, playground etc. For 6 months or more of the year it really is too hot for the children to play outside for long periods anyway, especially when they are young like your 2 are. As they get older, the children will be able to ride their bikes and play outside the front with their friends.
There are a few Compounds which have a 'proper' garden, eg. Palm City Gardens along al Waab but you will need to reevaluate your expectations as to what you are able to get as you can't compare like for like between the two countries.
If you have any other questions please feel free to message me via my website Facebook page.

27/6/2015 09:17:29 pm

Hi Sam, interesting to read your blog. We are a family of four, and are currently living in Saudi Arabia. We are in the process of relocating to Doha. I was wondering if you live on Palm City Garden compound? We are looking through houses right now, and our relocation agent suggested something that might be available there? Can you shed some light on what kind of a compound it is, and what is the environment like? Thanks, would appreciate a residents view on the pros and cons of this compound.

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